Barriers to learning and using point-of-care ultrasound: a survey of practicing internists in six North American institutions

Jonathan Wong, Steven Montague, Paul Wallace, Kay Negishi, Andrew Liteplo, Jennifer Ringrose, Renee Dversdal, Brian Buchanan, Janeve Desy, Irene W.Y. Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is increasingly used in internal medicine, but a lack of trained faculty continues to limit the spread of POCUS education. Using a framework based on organizational change theories, this study sought to identify barriers and enablers for hospital-based practicing internists to learn and use POCUS in clinical practice. Methods: We invited practicing internists at six North American institutions to participate in an electronic survey on their opinions regarding 39 barriers and enablers. Results: Of the 342 participants invited, 170 participated (response rate 49.3%). The top barriers were lack of training (79%), lack of handheld ultrasound devices (78%), lack of direct supervision (65%), lack of time to perform POCUS during rounds (65%), and lack of quality assurance processes (53%). The majority of participants (55%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement “My institution provides funding for POCUS training.” In general, participants’ attitudes towards POCUS were favourable, and future career opportunities and the potential for billing were not considered significant factors by our participants in the decision to learn or use POCUS. Conclusions: This survey confirms the perceived importance of POCUS to practicing internists. To assist in closing faculty development gap, interventions should address training, supervision, quality assurance processes, availability of handheld devices, as well as dedicated time to perform POCUS during clinical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
JournalUltrasound Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Barriers
  • Continuing medical education
  • Internal medicine
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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